If that New Yorker excerpt was any indication, Middlesex is going to kick ass.
Ian McEwan, Amsterdam. I was so giddy over Atonement that I immediately ran out and bought a couple of older McEwan novels, and this one is... mixed. It seems to take a few cues too many from McEwan's pal Martin Amis, whose work I dislike. There are flashes of the expansive sympathy and understanding that animate Atonement, but a lot of it is rather nasty, and that nastiness isn't helped by the contortions that the characters must undergo to fit the forced symmetry of the plot. Such symmetry is particularly glaring in a 190-page book with a large typeface; there just isn't enough room to pad it out and make it seem believable. The prose is unimpeachable, and his descriptions of composing music certainly kick the shit out of some similar descriptions I've been trying to write, but after a strong start the book falls into a peculiar lifelessness.